The PINK FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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56
THE SHIRT-COLLAR
Time passed, and the shirt-collar came in a rag-bag to the paper-mill. There was a large assortment of rags, the fine ones in one heap, and the coarse ones in another, as they should be. They had all much to tell, but no one more than the shirt-collar, for he was a hopeless braggart.
' I have had a terrible number of love affairs! ' he said. ' They gave me no peace. I was such a fine gentleman, so stiff with starch! I had a boot-jack and a hair-brush, which I never used ! You should just have seen me then! Never shall I forget my first love ! She was a girdle, so delicate and soft and pretty! She threw herself into a wash-tub for my sake! Then there was a widow, who glowed with love for me. But I left her alone, till she became black. Then there was the dancer, who inflicted the wound which has caused me to be here now; she was very violent! My own hair-brush was in love with me, and lost all her hair in consequence. Yes, I have experienced much in that line; but I grieve most of all for the garter, I mean, the girdle, who threw herself into a wash-tub. I have much on my conscience; it is high time for me to become white paper! '
And so he did! he became white paper, the very paper on which this story is printed. And that was because he had boasted so terribly about things which were not true. We should take this to heart, so that it may not happen to us, for we cannot indeed tell if we may not some day come to the rag-bag, and be made into white paper, on which will be printed our whole history, even the most secret parts, so that we too go about the world relating it, like the shirt-collar.
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